Blog / Tips for Setting Up Your Business on Chinese Search Engine: Baidu, Sogou and Shenma

Tips for Setting Up Your Business on Chinese Search Engine: Baidu, Sogou and Shenma

In this beginner’s guide, we'll delve into essential tips for setting up your business on major Chinese search engines - Baidu, Sogou and Shenma.

How to Set up on Baidu

Baidu is China's largest and most widely used search engine, claiming over 70% of the country's search engine market share. Here are some of the ways you can set up your business on Baidu:

Utilise Baidu Webmaster Tools

Adding a site URL to Baidu webmaster tools. Image from DragonMetrics

Begin by verifying your website through Baidu Webmaster Tools. This platform offers valuable insights into your site's performance on Baidu, providing data on indexed pages, search queries, and backlinks.

Prioritise Mobile Optimisation Traffic Share by Device. Image from Semrush

A significant 33.48% of Baidu's user base relies on mobile devices for internet access. In China, where users expect websites to load in under two seconds, the reality is that 90% of websites take five seconds or more to load. This stark contrast emphasises the importance of responsive design and fast loading times to ensure a positive user experience.

Promote your website through Baidu PPC Ads

Baidu Paid Search Ad. Image from MarketMeChina

Explore Baidu's Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising options to enhance your website’s search visibility.

Search ads, display ads, and video ads are among the options available, each serving distinct purposes. Search ads are effective for promoting products or services directly in search results, while display ads offer visual engagement across Baidu's extensive network of partner sites. Video ads, on the other hand, allow for immersive storytelling and brand promotion.

Baidu's advertising platform can be complex for some, and partnering with a local agency might be beneficial for effective campaign management.

Check out specialised agencies in Chinafy Featured Partners

How to Set Up on Sogou

Sogou, the second-largest search engine in China, distinguishes itself with a strong focus on language and voice search. Here's how to establish your business presence on Sogou:

Utilise Sogou Webmaster Tools

Adding a site URL to Sogou webmaster tools. Image from The Egg

Similar to Baidu, utilise Sogou Webmaster Tools to submit and verify your website. This platform provides comprehensive information on site performance, crawling statistics, and user behavior.

Optimise for Voice Search

Sogou search bar featuring voice search. Image from Rotgar

Sogou is China’s biggest search engine for voice searches. Notably, users engaging in voice searches often use complete sentences or more extended queries to communicate with the search engine. Enhance your content's relevance and visibility in response to voice-initiated searches on Sogou by integrating long-tail keywords that mimic these conversational patterns

Drive traffic to your website with Sogou PPC Ads

Sogou default text ad. Image from Nanjing Marketing Group

Sogou PPC Ads encompass various formats tailored for specific marketing objectives.

Default Text Ads are fundamental for general promotions within search results, offering concise and direct messaging.

Super Crown Ad for Image from Nanjing Marketing Group

Super Crown Ads features prominently at the top of the search results, It can include images, columns, sitelinks, list-style links and other elements. making them ideal for promoting high-priority content. Brand Zone Ads provide a dedicated space for brand exposure, allowing businesses to showcase their identity and offerings distinctly. Lastly, Right Side Promotion Ads strategically position content on the right side of search results, complementing other ad formats.

How to Set Up on Shenma

Developed by Alibaba Group, Shenma is a mobile-centric search engine designed to cater to the growing number of mobile internet users in China.

Here’s how you can get your business up and running on Shenma:

Utilise Shenma Search Webmaster Tool

Adding a site URL to Shenma webmaster tools. Image from Autoveille

Just like Baidu and Sogou, Shenma has its own webmaster’s tool.

This tool lets you gain access to essential data such as crawling statistics, indexing status, and search queries.

Prioritise Mobile-Friendly Design

As a search engine developed primarily for the mobile platform, Shenma places a strong emphasis on providing users with a seamless and efficient mobile search experience. Mobile-friendly design goes beyond looks, considering factors like fast page loading, easy-to-read content, and simple navigation.

Websites tailored for Shenma should load swiftly on mobile networks and present content in a way that's easy to read on smaller screens, featuring clear text, headings, and engaging visuals.

Explore Shenma's Advertising Solutions

Shenma also offers different ad formats catering to different campaign goals. One such user is iHerb.

Paid Search appears prominently at the top of search results, making them highly visible to users actively searching for relevant information. Shenma Brand Zone ads appear at the top of search results and feature prominent branding elements, such as logos, images, and slogans. Lastly, Brand Zone with App Download is an extension of Shenma's Brand Zone format.

How to Optimise your Website for Chinese Search Engines

Most people experience slow load times in China on websites built for global audiences. This is because websites do not perform the same in China as they do in other regions.

A slow or broken website is correlated with low indexability - or worse yet, being left out on search engines.

Websites can still appear broken even if they aren't inaccessible simply because -

i) They take much longer to load in China than when they load elsewhere (i.e. 30 seconds+)

ii) Critical assets (e.g. images, and videos) fail to load

The main cause of these issues is building these websites with code, plugins and third-party resources that are not compatible with the digital ecosystem in China.Global websites are also not built infrastructural set-up optimised for China out of the box.

This is where Chinafy comes in.

Chinafy achieves near-native performance by combining code-based optimization with a China-friendly infrastructure

Using a highly tuned complex integration of both Software (i.e. Code) and Infrastructure (i.e. Hardware), Chinafy can be bolted onto any site.

Combining a multi-load-balanced infrastructure with intelligent China-specific resource optimisations,

Case Study: Chinafy x Oxylabs

Oxylabs, an API solution provider for large-scale data acquisition, wanted to prioritise Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to accelerate its scaling efforts.

Teaming up with Comms8, an award-winning marketing agency, Oxylabs sought to enhance its online presence in China by collaborating with Chinafy to develop a more performant and SEM-friendly website tailored for the Chinese market.

In just two weeks, the collaboration with Chinafy produced remarkable results. Chinafy optimized the Oxylabs website, achieving 280% improvement in loading speed specifically in China. A direct comparison of page complete times in Shanghai revealed a significant reduction from 20.8 seconds before Chinafy to an impressive 7.5 seconds after implementation.

Seizing the opportunity of a faster website, Comms8 was able to achieve substantial SEO improvements. This included the expansion of Oxylabs' backlink profile with the acquisition of hundreds of new links characterized by high relevance and domain authority. The collaboration also led to an increase in the domain authority and overall quality of the Oxylabs website, contributing to enhanced search engine visibility, particularly on Baidu.

One of the key successes was the generation of referral traffic. Comms8's adept strategy, coupled with the improved website performance, ensured the successful attraction of diverse streams of referral traffic to the Oxylabs website. The combined efforts of Chinafy and Comms8 resulted in tangible and verifiable outcomes, showcasing the transformative impact of a faster, more optimized website.

Ready to optimise your website for China? Click Get Started to evaluate your website with Chinafy

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